A case of the Mondays…

This last weekend we were all pretty sick with some horrible fever inducing, evil flu/cold/demonic possession. It was not a fun couple of days. Sunday, everyone was feeling well enough to go out for a bit to get fresh air… Who am I kidding, Strongo and Existentialisa were beating the crap out of each other and needed to go do something. We let them play for a couple of hours at an indoor mall playground and then called it quits after we all started wearing out. Went home and mom decided to go pick up donuts to make our triumphant return to regular life Monday a success. She came back with donuts and news that she had been rear ended on the way home. Strike 2.

So this morning… This fucking morning… So we’re on time, everyone has eaten AND the grownups actually had time for coffee (!!!!!) and we’re heading out the door. Strongo goes downtown the stairs, trips on the last step and Bam! smacks his mouth on the banister! No big deal, right?


I run him back up and see that he’s bleeding a little.. But, wait, what is that stuck between his teeth?? Is that? Yes, he has his frenulum stuck in the gap between his two front teeth. Godsdamnit. Strangest injury ever.

Existentialisa goes to school, the rest of go to the local emergency room. The nurse practitioner tries to pull it through. Just makes him scream and it’s not going anywhere. She calls for a second opinion from the doctor. Comes back with the doctor’s idea to try and push his gap a little further open and nurse his frenulum through. Nope. More screaming. Still stuck. The doctor comes in. Why wouldn’t he? This is seriously weird and everyone want to see. He gives it a go and ends up getting bit. Good call son, no one blames you. Then we get a transfer to the Children’s hospital in the city. There they can get it unstuck, we are assured. They’ll know what to do.

Have I mentioned that we are at three hours already?

We pick up big sister at school and head to the city. Here’s a tip though: if you are going to the hospital that everyone still refers to as “Children’s Memorial Hospital” don’t plug that into Apple Maps. It sends to the the now shit down creepy boarded up building that they used to be in. It’s now the Lurie Children’s Hospital. You’re welcome. Jerks.

We get checked in there and the med student comes in and does intake, which is fine since my wife and I are both grad students and are very supportive of this sort of thing. The doc come in, and takes a look. They’re impressed. She makes some calls. The med student checks back in a few times. We are almost done watching Return to Neverland. Then the doc comes back in with news from their dentist. Course of action? Let’s see if he can eat and drink with it as is and if he can, let’s just watch it for a couple of days and see if it fixes itself after the swelling comes down. If it doesn’t, go see the dentist at the hospital.

And that, my friends, is how I spent my Monday in 2 ERs and am going to be staying up all nite catching up on schoolwork. Mondays…


I Wanna Publish Zines… And how you can help! [update]

Hey everyone,

There are 41 days left to go! Still plenty of time!

I hope you have been enjoying reading this blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I just wanted to let you all know that I have a project live on Hatch Fund right now. I am in the process of launching the blog to its next stage. The hatch fund is to launch it into a zine in collaboration with other punk-leaning artists and alternative parents. I’m also accepting article submissions for future issues, if you are interested. Please help me out by making a donation and spreading the word. Thanks!


Letting off some steam…

This month has been rough. Very rough. We have a family member in the hospital. Things are getting better, but it’s been very scary at times. I’m also struggling with the confrontation of the fragility of life. It’s something that I struggle with a lot, but when it’s another dad that you’re super close to, it strikes a little harder. Honestly, there is a part of me that feels super alone and like the pressure is on to be a father figure for the whole team. Like I said, things are slowly getting better, and we are all being very strong for each other, but there are times when I want to curl into a ball and hide. I’m sure that feeling has hit every member of family recently.

Speaking of family, we have recently hit a hard patch with Existentialisa. She has always had a hard time with transitions. Since birth. She wants to do everything and wants it’s done of her own timetable. AND she wants to know a detailed list of our schedule. It’s always “what are we doing now? And after that? And after that? And after…” Yet somehow when it comes time to transition between those things it ends up in meltdown. Bedtimes have been especially rough lately. The other nite turned from a super relaxed family movie nite (ironically we were watching Nanny McPhee) to a disaster of Fukushima proportions. We took an intermission for pajamas and she said that she has to go potty. I encouraged her to go potty first and then get jammies on after. Boom! Full on hulk smash.

From there on out things just fell apart. We couldn’t finish the movie because of the meltdown which involved her hitting us and saying horrible things, like “you’re not my parents!” (Keep in mind that she’s 4, not 15). The best was when she tried to screw with the time line and say that she was mad at us as a result of the movie getting turned off, forgetting that the movie got turned off in reaction to the fit. Good times. Eventually she calmed down and fell asleep, but we’re starting to think we should look into some sort of behavioral therapy.

Then, a few hours later, she threw up. We took it as a bodily response from the episode. Kids throw up from getting angry and screaming. It happens. The next day she had a play date with one of her old friends from babyhood. Then she threw up again. And then every hour or so for the rest of the nite. It was epic.

Also in the world of stresses we are now looking for a new place to live. The kid unfriendly building that we live in has decided to not renew our lease. I’ve never had this happen before and it really hurts. So here’s hoping we find the perfect place, or at least one with a washer and dryer in the next month.

Add to that the general stress that midterm has come and gone with this semester of graduate school. There is so much left to do in my classes and an ever decreasing amount of time to do it. Thank the gods that I’m mostly working on my own projects, like this blog and launching the zine and designing merch as my projects for the semester. Art school can have its moments.

When stuff like this happens, I really try to stay positive, but sometimes it’s really a lot harder than it sounds. I think the key at times like this is that we should all try to take it easier on each other, you know, try to bend with the punches. I’m sorry for the all-overness of this entry, welcome to my brain recently. The semester will be over soon and I’m looking to for a chance to simplify things for a bit and reconnecting with my family in this hard time. But there is a lot left to do and get through before then. Including… Dramatic music…. The holidays…

Recommended track list:
Fugazi, Waiting Room
Alkaline Trio, My Standard Break from Life
Pennywise, Homeless
Thursday, How Long is the Night?

I Wanna Publish Zines… And how you can help

Hey everyone,

There are 41 days left to go! Still plenty of time!

I hope you have been enjoying reading this blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I just wanted to let you all know that I have a project live on Hatch Fund right now. I am in the process of launching the blog to its next stage. The hatch fund is to launch it into a zine in collaboration with other punk-leaning artists and alternative parents. I’m also accepting article submissions for future issues, if you are interested. Please help me out by making a donation and spreading the word. Thanks!


Raising your Kids Green or Finding the Jello at Walgreens….

A couple of days ago my son started singing along to “Kill the Poor” by the Dead Kennedys. Two things dawned on me. First off, I was so proud of my boy for singing along to good music. Second, was the realization of my influence in him. Here he is, two years old, singing along to a song that is about class warfare. This is my kid. Mine. Every time I turn my music on in the van (hey if I’m in the captain’s seat and there are no other people of equal rank, ie my wife Katie, I control the music. End of discussion. And no that is not fascist.) these kids are soaking it in, learning, absorbing my politics.

The first and only time I saw former front man to the Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra, in person was at a Green Party Rally at the Congress theater in 2001. It was the birthplace of me thinking politically. Fresh out of high school and in my first year at community college. It all started the day that George W. Bush held a campaign event at College of DuPage in the Art building’s courtyard. I wasn’t able to get to my classes since the building went on lockdown as soon as he showed up. There were snipers in the roof. I had nothing better to do, so I joined up with the Campus Greens group that was setting up a priest march around campus. Who did I bump into but my future wife who I hadn’t really seen since graduating. She was there to observe and cause a little hell. She joined in with our “BUSH AND GORE MAKE ME WANT TO RALPH!!” chants, got in people’s faces and vehemently argued for women’s right to choice. She doesn’t know it, but I was in love with her right then and there.

We then met up again at the Campus Greens organized rally at the Congress. Listened to Jello Biafra, cornel West, Ani Difranco, and Ralph Nader speak to an audience of young people that hadn’t even learned why they were pissed off yet. I was now a third party supporting, young leftist and the music I had been listening to for years suddenly made more sense than ever.

Flash forward a dozen years later and I’m sitting in the parking lot of the walgreens in my home town listening to my 2yo son sing “Kill the Poor”. If we can get this next generation thinking critically about the system at 2, then we might actually be changing the world in ways we could have only dreamed about when we were standing in that crowd at the Congress theater all those years ago.

Recommended track list:
Dead Kennedys: Kill the Poor
NOFX: Murder the Government
Strike Anywhere: Riot of Words

(Mosh) Pit falls…

Confession time. The thing I miss most about my youth is going to shows whenever I felt like it. Whenever I felt like it is code for every freaking day. When we were kids, we’d have some show to go to pretty much all the time. Where we going tonite? Tonite’s the Fireside Bowl to see the Lawrence Arms. Wow that opening band, the Ghost, was amazing, lets come back in two days for their cd release. Where are we going tonite? Some church basement in Lombard to see Hook Line & Sinker. Tomorrow? The Annex in Algonquin. The next day, backyard Stale Chofli show… The Wheaton Community Center to see all of the local bands in one huge show… Some place called the Barn… A VFW… After that the Metro to see Alkaline Trio for the umpteenth time this year.

There was always somewhere to see the bands we loved playing.

Why am I bringing this up now? There is no way that I could physically keep up with that kind of schedule again, but this weekend there is a huge music festival playing 20 minutes from where we live and a ton of my favorite bands are playing. And I am not going. I tried to talk my way into a press pass and failed and lost out on my chance to buy tickets. Not like I would have been able to afford them any ways. No Riot Fest for me. I’m actually surprised at how down this is making me feel. There are tons of other shows that i have missed over the years, but this one is hitting me harder than I had expected. I miss the overall feeling of the live show. The mass of people that know all the lyrics, running into other hot sweaty people having an almost religious experience. The last time I was at a show was Mustard Plug randomly playing at the House Cafe in Dekalb over a year ago and before that Coheed and Cambria at the Riv in 2009. And they were great. Absolutely great. Now I have gotten into this routine of being super busy all of the time and I can’t go. I have a family that I love dearly and I adore spending time with my kids, but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have the desire to once in awhile going out and run into a mosh pit (do they still have those?). Between work and school and family life, I just don’t seem to have the time. Do you see how I keep dancing back and forth between wanting to and talking my way out of it?

So there’s my confession. I’m really down about not going to Riot Fest this weekend. I feel selfish that I feel this way, but I miss it. I really do.

Confusion and Delay on the L or the Worst Episode of Thomas EVER

Earlier today we decided to go into the city to attend a Labor Day birth rally in front of the headquarters for the AMA. Our daughter has been really wanting to go for a train ride so we figured two birds with one stone; take the L to get to the rally.

Getting there was great. We got the nice handicap seat with room for the stroller. Our daughter had a window to look out the whole time. We got to our atop, walked the couple of blocks to the rally where our daughter immediately made new friends to run around with while we networked and lent our support.

The craziness happened on the way home. We couldn’t get seats for the first couple of stops so of course that led to a massive meltdown. Then we got seats, but they didn’t have enough windows… meltdown. Now keep in mind that its essentially nap time, so I’m just letting the arched back wailing roll right off me. A window seat opens up across the aisle so Katie and our now perfect angel move there.

Meanwhile… Crazy wannabe thug, Shitty Rapper is making the rounds irritating the fuck out of everyone on the train. He’s aggressively “rapping” in people’s faces about how tough he is and how to survive you gotta shoot people and yadda yadda… Not at all derivative. He eventually makes his way over to our family and this other guy decides he’s had enough of Shitty Rapper and is aggravated by the language he’s spouting off in front of the kiddos. He tells him to cool it and be respectful to the children. SR backs off a little and sarcastically “agrees”. Other dude reiterates that he needs to back down before he calls the “Po”. SR flips his shit. The protector of the virgin ears then moves to shield the kids in case shit gets real.

Shit. Gets. Real.

In a flurry of chest beating and screaming in each others faces that is now a blur of motion and noise as i try to remember it, Shitty Rapper lifts his shirt and says he’s got a 50, though I didn’t see a gun. Not like we stuck around to see if he was going to back that up. We grabbed the kids and hopped off at the stop that we were luckily at and waited for the next train to come. It came and we weren’t delayed, so I assume everything worked out in the end, but yeah…

Go figure that the first time a fight breaks out in front of me on the L we would have the kids with us. That was probably the worst thing I have ever experienced on the train. Much worse than your average crazy person L story. You know like the mutterers, the old guy with the prostitute, the girl who talks too loudly on her cell phone about every detail of her life. Regular crazy. They don’t bother you and you don’t bother them. Now I’m still a little shaken up, Katie is refusing to let the kids ride the L for a long time, and I’m using this to vent enough to be able to get myself to hopefully sleep. I can’t wait to ride it again tomorrow to got to class. Yay.

Recommended Track list:

Alkaline Trio: Trucks and Trains
Saves the Day: Third Engine
Matt Skiba: the City That Day
Johnny Cash: City of New Orleans